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  1. #1
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    Leupold 12-40 vs Nikon ED50 which is better, especially in low light?

    I'm looking to upgrade my Leupold Sequoia spotter and wanted to get some opinions on what was best. I will pack it on western hunts for use on a tripod, and on some mid-west deer hunts also. It will also get lots of use on a window mount scouting whitetail in low light conditions. When scouting whitetail I rarely look over 3/4 of a mile, mostly around a half mile. Anyway, the two listed are just a couple I'd been looking at and wanted to get some opinions. I want to stay under the 40oz weight and have an easy to pack design which is steering me away from some of the 65mm or bigger scopes.

    What's the best scope under $1200 and under 40oz?
    Is HD glass worth the extra $?

    Thanks for any help you guys can give me.

  2. #2
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    I have the Leupold in HD. Havn't used the other so hard to compare. Love the Leupold!
    Colorado Cowboy
    Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
    The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
    "My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
    Aldous Huxley

  3. #3
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    My hunting partner has the Leupy 60mm HD. I have an ED50. I would say the Nikon has better apparent sharpness, contrast, and chromatic aberration (CA) control.

    I think the Leupy would be very slightly brighter right at dark due to the aperture advantage of the 60mm vs. the 50mm.

    Leupy wins on eye relief, customer service, but the ED50 is the better instrument overall.

    The Leupy is also 2.3 pounds while the ED50 is a mere 1.38 pounds. That is a pretty significant difference.

  4. #4
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    You should buy my Leupold so I can buy an ed50. I love the Leupold but don't want to pack it miles into the back country when I can pack a scope that is twice as light.

  5. #5
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    You should give the Kowa 600 Series a look. I don't have any first hand experience with the 60mm version, but I have a 664 and love it. At only 26 oz. (plus a few oz. for the eyepiece) and for around $800, I don't think it can be beat. Personally, I would rather have this scope for low light conditions (60mm) over the ED50. The ED50 is slightly lighter, but I think the Kowa would make up for it in overall performance and you can get it with a 20-60 zoom eyepiece.
    I recognized long ago that if I have a warehouse full of guns, but no public land or public wildlife, I have nothing!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceby7 View Post
    You should give the Kowa 600 Series a look. I don't have any first hand experience with the 60mm version, but I have a 664 and love it. At only 26 oz. (plus a few oz. for the eyepiece) and for around $800, I don't think it can be beat. Personally, I would rather have this scope for low light conditions (60mm) over the ED50. The ED50 is slightly lighter, but I think the Kowa would make up for it in overall performance and you can get it with a 20-60 zoom eyepiece.
    I wholeheartedly agree with ceby7 that Kowa spotters always warrant a good look when spotter shopping. The Kowa Prominar 88mm spotter is the finest sporting spotting scope on the planet. ceby7's Prominar 664 is an awesome spotter that competes with the best 65mm spotters from Zeiss, Swaro, and Leica. However, the 60mm Kowa does not come in a Prominar (ED) version that i am aware of. I have seen the Kowa 601 spotter (at the local wildlife refuge) and, to me, it showed quite a bit of CA and lacks contrast. It is also about a full pound heavier (with an 8.8 ounce zoom eyepiece) than the Nikon ED50.

    If you can find a 664 with zoom eyepiece for $800, that is a smokin' deal though!

  7. #7
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    Bitterroot, your are correct that the 60mm Kowa no longer comes in an XD version. Their website still shows the 603-604, but they're listed as discontinued. I trust what you say, that the standard 60mm Kowa doesn't live up to the XD version, I personally have never looked through one. It's a bummer though, as I really like my 664. Just to clear things up, the weight I mentioned and the $800 was referring to the 60mm Kowa, the 663-64 will run you about $1300.
    I recognized long ago that if I have a warehouse full of guns, but no public land or public wildlife, I have nothing!

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=

    If you can find a 664 with zoom eyepiece for $800, that is a smokin' deal though![/QUOTE]

    Yes, there are definitely deals to be had! I mentioned here before that I got my Kowa 663 with the newest 20-60 eyepiece for $700 brand new... Oh, and that included the green zip on cover, a pelican case, and a Leupold tripod. Found it on craigslist in Florida so I called the guy and talked to him for a while. He was an old retiree that bought it to look at alligators out the window but he never used it. Talked him into shipping it out to me. It's turned out to be a great scope. It's definitely not an ulta-light, but I find myself loading it in the pack every time I go out so it's obviously worth the extra weight. Actually, with spotting scopes I don't mind the weight near as much as I mind the volume of pack space they take up. Sorry I don't have any experience to compare/ contrast with the scopes your looking at though.

    With all the great things I've read about the ED50, I've actually started to consider selling my setup, minus the tripod, and going to the ED50 while making a few bucks at the same time. Not too sure though.
    Last edited by BigSurArcher; 12-06-2011 at 10:58 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSurArcher View Post
    Yes, there are definitely deals to be had! I mentioned here before that I got my Kowa 663 with the newest 20-60 eyepiece for $700 brand new... Oh, and that included the green zip on cover, a pelican case, and a Leupold tripod. Found it on craigslist in Florida so I called the guy and talked to him for a while. He was an old retiree that bought it to look at alligators out the window but he never used it. Talked him into shipping it out to me. It's turned out to be a great scope. It's definitely not an ulta-light, but I find myself loading it in the pack every time I go out so it's obviously worth the extra weight. Actually, with spotting scopes I don't mind the weight near as much as I mind the volume of pack space they take up. Sorry I don't have any experience to compare/ contrast with the scopes your looking at though.

    With all the great things I've read about the ED50, I've actually started to consider selling my setup, minus the tripod, and going to the ED50 while making a few bucks at the same time. Not too sure though.
    I've considered the same but just can't do it. I'm saving my pennies and I've come to realize I just have to have both My wife may not think so but you really do need different glass for different situations. At least that is what i tell her

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montana View Post
    I've considered the same but just can't do it. I'm saving my pennies and I've come to realize I just have to have both My wife may not think so but you really do need different glass for different situations. At least that is what i tell her
    Your a bad bad influence....

 

 

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